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The holidays were hectic. Beginning at Thanksgiving (actually, Halloween…) it’s been cooking, hunting for Tupperware tops, laundry, houseguests and dishes. It’s been fun, but I welcome getting back to the routine and a little peace and quiet. That’s why when my husband called at 5pm on Tuesday and said that he’d be working late, I was happy to have a few hours of solitude and meatloaf in the oven.

The week before, with house guests in tow, we had gone to TWK in Winchester for a burger. If I have a burger in the afternoon, I usually get a beer, but at night I’ll order a glass of red wine to elevate the burger to a higher cuisine. That’s what I did at TWK. The burger was delicious, but the wine really blew me away. Served by the glass, The Huntsman Cabernet Sauvignon from Ross Andrew in Washington’s Columbia Valley was silky, smooth and delicious.

I had two glasses and stopped by Mystic Wine Shoppe on my way home to see if they carried it. They do (!) and I picked up a bottle to share with my friends. But, in the flood of New Year’s champagne and morning-after Bloody Mary’s the Huntsman somehow, through the onslaught of guests, remained untouched.

Then, as I pulled the meatloaf out of the oven on that mundane Tuesday night, I wondered…if the Huntsman Cab could make a burger feel special, imagine what it would do for my meatloaf. Ordinarily, I might not open a nice bottle of wine just for myself – but I was savoring the solitude and somehow, it felt like a special occasion. I opened the cabinet, uncorked the bottle, poured a bit and swirled it in the glass. It was a gorgeous color— deep and fragrant. I sipped and tasted blackberries and whiff of vanilla.

I cut a generous slice of meatloaf, buttered a baked sweet potato and served myself some roasted cauliflower. It was a plate of comfort food—a post-holiday celebration of a return to normal. The owner of the vineyard named this wine The Huntsman because he likes to hunt, I imagine that this wine would pair as nicely with venison or wild boar as it did with my meatloaf.

I drank two glasses, corked the bottle and put it in the fridge. I bet it’s fantastic with meatloaf sandwiches, too!

Here’s my meatloaf recipe (it’s not rocket science, so feel free to tweak).

  • 1-½ pounds of ground beef (85% lean)
  • 1 large sweet onion chopped
  • 1-½ cups of old fashioned oats
  • Salt to taste
  • A generous sprinkling of pepper
  • Squirt of ketchup
  • Squish mixture until well blended then shape into loaf pan.
  • Frost generously with a mixture of ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and done (about an hour).

Written by one of our wine guru’s, Carol Bend 

I am fortunate that when my daughter was in elementary school, she picked her friends well.  What I mean is that she hung out with a group of elementary school girls whose parents I adore.

Best of all, everyone lives within a few blocks of each other. So, twenty years later, the girls have all gone their separate ways, but we parents, now a group of empty nesters, continue to see each other almost every weekend for dinners, election night gatherings, holidays, birthdays and lots of laughs.

This group is bound not just by our parenting experiences but we also we share a passion for politics, travel, the love of a good argument and we are all devoted to creating good food. It doesn’t have to be fancy, (we’ve had amazing hot dog and bean dinners- homemade beans, of course-) but it’s always delicious.
Last Saturday at Andrea and Dennis’ house on Jason Street, was no exception. In fact, Andrea is probably the most serious cook in the group. She worked as a professional caterer and also had her own business providing meals to go that she made at home.  And, she knows wine. So a dinner at Andrea’s means that not only do I agonize over what to make for a dessert or appetizer, I also put some serious thought into the bottle of wine that I’ll bring to share.

Pork and chorizo stew was on the menu. Andrea had suggested a Gewürztraminer
(white and light) but I went with a red and matched the earthy flavors in the stew with a silky yet substantial Ken Forrester Renegade 2013, a blend of Grenache and Syrah from South Africa. I was glad I did.

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This wine did exactly what wine is supposed to do. It complimented the food (not that Andrea’s cooking needs any enhancement!). The slight heat in the stew, along with the green rice, spiced with poblano papers set the wine off perfectly and revealed its subtle notes of plum, black olive and a trace of chocolate that made me pour myself another glass to accompany the bourbon chocolate cake that someone else had brought for dessert. We lingered over the table, went back for seconds on the pork stew, sliced a little more off the chocolate cake, cleaned up the edges of my lemon meringue pie and were reminded again of just how lucky were are to have daughters with such exquisite taste in parents. Here’s to old friends, a new wine and to friends who can cook!

 

Thanks for reading, Carol Band

Tis the season to be merry, buy gifts and drink eggnog cocktails! This month we’re pulling out the good old eggnog to create a warming cocktail that will have you singing “fa la la la la la la” all evening long. Feeling weary about using eggnog in your cocktail, don’t! This smooth, bold and delicious drink makes the perfect mate with vodka and other spirits.  Read on for all the tasty details…

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Ounces Vodka (we used Kettle One Vodka)
  • 1 Cup Eggnog
  • 3 TBSP Cinnamon & Sugar (for rim and topping)
  • 2 TBSP Chocolate sauce

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Mix It UP:

  • Pour vodka, eggnog and 1 TBSP of chocolate sauce into a shaker and Shake Shake Shake
  • To make rim:
    • place the chocolate sauce on a plate
    • mix cinnamon & sugar together and place on a plate
    • place the top of the cup into chocolate sauce then into the cinnamon mix
  • Pour the shaken mix into the sugar rimmed cup and enjoy

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Add Ons:

  • This recipe could also be great with Kahlua and/or Baileys

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We hope you enjoy this delicious cocktail with friends and family this holiday season! Thank you for all your continued support.

Your friends at Mystic Wine Shoppe

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It was another successful Winter Whiskey tasting! We continue to be so very grateful for the support of this community! Guests enjoyed sampling six delicious Buffalo Trace Bourbons along with locally made snacks.  Everyone was engaged and learned a lot about different bourbons (including us). It’s an annual tasting that we LOVE to host and we can’t wait for next year.  Thanks to everyone who came out and thank you to Buffalo Trace for sharing your Bourbon and knowledge with us.

 

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bourbon tasting

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Thanks again to everyone who joined us! Make sure to visit us for our Friday Beer Tastings from 6-8pm and our Saturday Wine Tastings from 5-7pm.

I’m not Jewish, but my husband is and, as is the case with holidays both secular and religious, it often falls upon the woman to create the traditions…which in my house means food.Potato-Latkes-300x257

So it has come to pass that I, the non-Jew, have become an expert at making latkes. I think that the crisp potato pancakes are the one thing that Hanukkah has over Christmas.

At our annual latke fry on Sunday, I grated both sweet and Yukon gold potatoes and served them with applesauce and sour cream, of course, but also with a hearty bowl of Portuguese kale soup and a romaine-free salad.

The soup is robust and smoky with chorizo and kielbasa, kidney beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and kale. But it cries out for a substantial red wine to elevate it from peasant food to festive holiday fare.

IMG_1318Bogle Phantom 2015 is just that wine.

 

Don’t be intimidated by the label that proclaims “mysterious and hauntingly seductive.” This is a very approachable blend  (44% Petite Sirah, 44% Zinfandel, 10% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon) that pairs well with comforting winter dishes like beef stew, pork loin and…my kale soup.

The girls and I opened it before dinner, let it breathe a bit and sampled it while pondering the New York Times crossword puzzle. Then we set the kitchen table and poured some for everyone.

It’s smooth but bodacious, yet it doesn’t overwhelm the tongue with tannins. This will become the winter house wine here on Bartlett Avenue.  Even my daughter (a millennial!) who tends to gravitate toward pinot noirs gave this wine high marks. It’s loaded with subtle flavors and it drinks like a high priced bottle. Good thing we had two.

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P.S. I made “Craft Beer Menorahs” for the “kids” and picked up some really interesting local brews to wish them all “Hoppy Holidays!”

The holiday season is officially here!!  Are you in search of a great gift this holiday season?!  We’re guessing you’re saying “um, yes of course… please help.” Don’t worry, we’re here to help with these 10 great gift ideas. Not seeing a gift idea you love? Head into Mystic Wine Shoppe and let our team of experts help you pick out the right gift.

 

10 Holiday Gifts You’ll Love

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1.Jim Beam Red Sox limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon Gift Basket: This is the perfect gift basket for the Red Sox fan in your life! Not a Jim Beam fan, come and create your own custom gift basket!

 

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2. Ken Forester Wines: Two great wines out of South Africa –

  • The Gypsy: The character is somewhat ‘wild’ a little brambly with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, dark spices, with vanilla scents and a distinct, concentrated red-fruit focus. Great for laying down and keeping for at least ten years but already rewarding if allowed to breathe in a decanter.
  • The FMC: The pinnacle of what we consider to be the finest expression of the grapes of this varietal – an icon chenin, a challenge to the world!  Rich, layered with dried apricot, vanilla and honey.

 

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3. A Midwinter Nights Dram: A limited engagement with only 4 left!!  This is a delicious blend of straight rye whiskeys.

 

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4. Patron Tequila Mini Gift Pack: The perfect stocking stuffer!

 

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5. Caymus Vineyards Wines: Calling all cab lovers!!!

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine serves up a bevy of berry aromas and flavors. Its layered and rounded palate make it a delectable choice with a thick and mouthwatering grilled ribeye.
  • Caymus Special Edition: A truly legendary wine, Caymus Special Selection is a wine that Cab lovers simply can’t get enough of. Introduced more than 30 years ago, Special Selection is a vivid expression of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. Starting with the foundation of their Rutherford estate vineyard and then securing contracts for long-term farming control of vineyards across the valley, Caymus has been able to solidify the extraordinary character and over-the-top quality of this very special wine vintage after vintage.

 

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6. Willett Rye Whiskey: A special release!!! Even a quick nosing reveals that Rye nose of grassy, herbal goodness with a sweetness that follows it. The palate is well balanced with a herbal mintiness, intertwined with a sweetness that dances on your tongue until it exits with a spiciness. This is a great utility whiskey to drink neat, make an Old Fashioned, or hold up to a rock.

 

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7. The Dalmore 18: Dalmore’s trademark style is luscious notes of orange, chocolate and spices, and the 18-Year-Old bottling is a terrific example. Aged in both bourbon and sherry casks, it has seductive notes of vanilla, dark chocolate and candied orange on the nose, followed by a full-bodied, spicy palate of cinnamon and stewed fruit. Recently reduced to just $174

 

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8. Opus One Wine: The essence of time is expressed in Opus One by the character of each vintage. Place, often defined as terroir, represents the geography, the climate and the essential human element which is captured in the wine’s balance between power and finesse, structure and texture.

 

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9. French Wines: Not sure which wine to choose, how about three delicious French wines… you can’t go wrong with any of these wines.

  • Terres Brulées Cornas Syrah: A deep ruby-black with purple hints. Blackcurrant, dark cherries and blackberries, with spices, licorice and cocoa on the nose. A very rich mouth-feel with flavors of black fruit, jam, vanilla, spice and mineral notes. This wine has firm tannins and a long lasting finish.
  • Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem: he Occultum Lapidem displays great dark garnet-red color in the glass. The nose is laden with aromas of black fruits, pepper, leather and graphite with hints of shrubs. On the palate, the fleshy quality of the wine is apparent straightaway from the attack. Rich and dense, the wine finishes with a balance of fruit and delicate tannins.
  • Prémices: A pure, elegant style, with an alluring raspberry puree note leading the way, while light blood orange, red currant and plum fruit flavors follow close behind. Nuances of incense, mulling spices and rooibos tea flitter throughout. The finish is silky and persistent.

 

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10. Santa Rita Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon: This full-bodied wine has beautiful complexity, with flowers, sandalwood and subtle currants, a dense centre palate and a long finish. Purity in cabernet sauvignon. Drinks great now or you can cellar it
for 10 years.

 

We hope to see you soon at Mystic Wine Shoppe! Let us know what you think about this years gift guide!

 

We’re getting into the holiday spirit with our November Cocktail of The Month! This delicious and easy-to-make cocktail is sure to be a holiday hit at your Thanksgiving table or at your holiday bash.

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Ingredients:

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Make it:

  • Place 8-12 frozen berries into glass cup
  • Pour 2 ounces of blueberry vodka into glass
  • Top it off with sparkling cider

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We hope you find this cocktail makes the perfect addition for your holiday get-together!  If you’re looking for a great hostess gift, stop into Mystic and pick-up a holiday gift basket or charcuterie board.  Not into cocktails, check out our Turkey Day Wine Guide!

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Cheers!

Local, local, local! Peak Organic Brewing Co. is dedicated to creating the most fantastic brews straight from their designated, local farmers from all around New England. “The idea is simple. Find the best ingredients being grown to create amazing flavor and truly delicious beer.” Each farm that Peak utilizes focuses on quality versus quantity. Peak has a passion for sustainability rooted in the way they run their company.

14263981_10154490745048560_5739901642037939637_nPeak likes to participate and dedicate its efforts to innovating new flavors that have never been done before. They achieve this by collaborating directly with their local farmers, chefs, and other organizations connected to sustainability as well. This company background and passion for being different, guarantees a unique, well-crafted taste when you give their brews a try! (If you’re a fan, you know that already!

Here are some of the delicious, specialty beers Peak Organic Brewing Co. has to offer!

Peak IPA: This is Peak’s classic, signature brew. Their India Pale Ale contains a flavorful initial taste thanks to the Amarillo and Simcoe dry hop. No bittering needed, just an abundance of floral and citrus flavors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Juice: This WICKED dry-hopped pale ale provides aromas and strong zests of tangerine and berry notes. The carefully brewed mix contains amarillo, simcoe, and hints of Azacca hops.

Happy Hour: Here we have Peak’s signature pilsner. Crisp and clean, this light brew makes it impossible to pass up more than one. 43038827_10156674963963560_8427614777018155008_o“This beer is easygoing and pairs well with everything, including another beer! With this new pilsner, it’s always Happy Hour.”

Sweet Tart Cranberry: We’re drooling just at the name of this brew. This Cape Cod Sour Ale ties together tangy, cranberry, and sour flavors into a refreshing first sip. The locally sourced Cape Cod cranberries provide a special rose-like effervescence for this perfect, light-bodied brew.

Winter IPA: ‘Tis the season! Peak’s hazy, New England Style IPA was created to lighten things up as the cold weather starts to hit. With a bright, juicy mix of Calypso, Azacco, Simcoe, and Citra hops, this brew will help you survive the winter by hinting at springtime.

The story behind Peak Organic Brewing Co. is an inspiring, lovely New England story. By choosing their brews for your next holiday or tailgate, not only are you supporting sustainability, but you’re guaranteed to find a light, new favorite. Stop into Mystic Wine Shoppe to pick up a pack to try! It’ll be the ~peak~ of your day 😉

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(all photos and quotes taken from Peak Brewing)